LAS VEGAS — The Elko boys basketball team exploded in the third period Thursday against Eldorado.
The Indians rode a 21-12 advantage in the quarter and defeated the Sundevils 64-53.
The clubs struggled to gain any offensive traction in the early going, combining for two points in more than three minutes of action.
Sophomore Sean Klekas gave the Indians a 2-0 lead and drew a charge on the defensive end.
With a step-back three, he opened a 5-0 advantage.
The triple was combatted by the first field goal of the game for the Sundevils, senior Jonathan Thomas hitting a three of his own.
Elko senior Joe Simpkins hammered home a three — answered by a deuce through traffic by Eldorado senior Lelenn Ross — but Simpkins remained hot.
His second three of the period opened an 11-5 lead and forced a timeout with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Indians’ advantage grew to eight at 13-5 with a stutter-step move by Sean Klekas, he and Simpkins tallying all of Elko’s points.
Elko moved the ball like clockwork to close the frame, the rock finding senior Alex Klekas for a last-second three.
After the first, the Indians led by 11 at 16-5.
Freshman Michael Klekas found the score book with an elbow jumper to start the second period.
Senior E’marrion Hines trimmed the deficit back to 11 with a deuce, and sophomore Dominque Clifton drove the left side for a layup — pulling the Sundevils to within single digits.
After an Elko travel, Hines penetrated for another bucket — making the score 18-11.
Eldorado turned up the defensive pressure and spread the floor, creating more space for their athletes to create off the dribble, cutting the margin to five with a deuce by senior Jalen Malone.
The Indians stopped an 8-0 run with a bucket by Michael Klekas, the score set up by a pass from Simpkins.
The Sundevils blocked a shot and pushed on the break, a gimme denied on a foul by Simpkins.
Senior Jason Sykes buried both free throws, and Hines took the ball away and raced in for a score — adding another bucket as he stumbled and fell.
The deuce brought the crowd to life and stretched Eldorado’s run to 14-2, Elko’s advantage sliced to a single point at 20-19.
The bleeding was stopped by an offensive put-back by senior Ronin Rowley from his own miss.
Michael Klekas earned a trip to the stripe from a strong offensive rebound, giving the Indians a 23-19 lead with a free throw.
The second freebie was off, but Rowley also crashed the glass — drawing a foul — sticking both attempts.
Eldorado ripped off a 5-0 run with a deep three by Hines — giving him 11 points, all coming in the second quarter — and Thomas drained a midrange jumper to cut the lead to one at 25-24.
The Indians answered fire with a wet ball, Sean Klekas splashing a three at the halftime buzzer — giving him double digits with 10 points and two triples.
The Sundevils outscored the Indians 19-12 in the second period, but Elko led 28-24 at the break.
Senior Johnny Perry cut the deficit in half to start the third, Eldorado running the floor and drawing an intentional foul — Thomas hitting a free throw — the Sundevils trailing by only one at 28-27.
Michael Klekas gave the Indians an answer, hitting a jumper in transition for a three-point lead.
Rowley worked for deep positioning in the post and rolled a shot home from a pass by Alex Klekas, Michael Klekas making a steal and driving the distance for a layup and a seven-point lead of 34-27 with a 6-0 spurt at the six-minute mark.
Thomas showed no hesitation with an aggressive take for a deuce, but Michael Klekas dropped a reverse finish for the Indians — giving him 11 points — Elko opening a 36-39 lead with 4:35 on the clock.
The cushion grew to nine on a pair of free throws by Michael Klekas — his eighth points of the period — the Indians grabbing a 12-point advantage on Alex Klekas’ second three of the contest.
He then finished at the rim, opening a 43-29 lead, but the deficit was trimmed to 11 on a triple by Clifton.
Not to be denied, Alex Klekas buried his third three for his 11th point — Elko regaining a 14-point lead of 46-32.
The Sundevils scored inside from a timeout, but Alex Klekas jacked up a heat-check three — nothing but the bottom of the net for his fourth dagger from distance — giving him 14 points in the game and 11 in the frame.
Clifton tallied a bucket and made the score 49-36.
After the Sundevils sliced the lead to one at 28-27, Elko closed the period on a 21-9 run and outscored Eldorado 21-12 for the quarter.
Eldorado checked six players into the game to start the fourth period, Alex Klekas sticking the technical free throws for a 51-36 lead.
Perry swatted a shot and Ross drew a foul while out of control, making both shots at the stripe.
After some wild action, each team turned the ball over on numerous occasions and could not convert shots.
Rowley was fouled and Elko earned a 1-and-1, sinking both shots.
Michael Klekas scored on a lob pass over the defense from Sean Klekas, opening Elko’s largest lead of the contest at 55-38.
Senior Grayling Atkins smoked a deep, deep three from right side for the Sundevils.
Hines made a tough scoop shot for an And-1, but the free throw was missed — the Indians looking to kill clock with a 55-43 lead.
The Indians went empty on the front end of a 1-and-1, the Sundevils pulling to within 10 on a post feed to Perry for a 7-0 run.
Alex Klekas was fouled and drilled both freebies as the Indians reached the double-bonus, and Michael Klekas hit 1-for-2 at the stripe.
With 43.6 seconds remaining, Ross scored in transition.
From the reset, Alex Klekas worked behind the defense and scored on a bunny.
Ross drained two free throws with 22 seconds remaining, and Atkins made a steal and went to the hole — trimming the lead to nine at 60-51 with 13 ticks remaining.
Alex Klekas was fouled and drained a pair of free throws.
The Sundevils tallied consecutive buckets by Ross and Atkins, but Eldorado fouled Sean Klekas with .1 on the clock.
He buried the attempts, the Indians extending to a 64-53 victory.
Alex Klekas scored a game-high 22 points — booking 19 in the second half and 11 in the third quarter — draining four 3s.
Michael Klekas finished with 16 points, 11 coming in the second half and eight in the third period, and Sean Klekas dropped 12 points — tallying seven in the first period — drilling two 3s.
Rowley scored eight points and Simpkins finished with six — all coming by way of two 3s — the Indians cashing eight triples as a team.
The starting-five players scored all of the Indians’ points.
Eldorado was led by 13 points from Hines — who scored 11 in the second quarter — joined in double digits by 10 points from Ross, tallying eight after the break.
Thomas finished with eight points (more than 10 less than his team-high 18.7 average), followed by seven from Clifton, six by Perry and five from Atkins.
Malone and Sykes rounded out the scoring for the Sundevils with two apiece.
“They start five seniors, so that was a good test for us. They’re a good team and very athletic. I think we started really strong and that kind of surprised them. Joe hit some big threes in the first quarter and Ronin was strong on the boards,” said Elko coach Chris Klekas. “Alex and Michael were big in the third quarter. I thought Cooper (Jones) and Michael Iguban did some good things. (Eldorado) tries to speed you up, so you have to be able to handle it. We made some big shots and it was a good team win.”
The Indians will tip off at 6 p.m. Friday against Mojave — which won last year’s meeting 54-44 — Elko closing the Battle Born Classic with a 3:30 p.m. Saturday matchup against Rancho.